The Impact of Overwork
You should never take being overworked for granted. Head and backache, constant tiredness, the inability to focus for extended periods, feeling overwhelming, insomnia and emotional exhaustion are all key warning signs of impending burnout. How many of these are you experiencing right now?
Burnout is a big issue in Australian workplaces. It is something that as a nation we should be aware of.
You should probably take action to reduce your hours if you are over 40 and are regularly working more than 40 hours per week. Most certainly if you are averaging over 50 hours per week. While presentism and competitive workplace practices are unavoidable in some cases, research shows long hours for extended periods harms both workers and organisations. Productivity can be boosted for a couple of weeks by working longer hours, but if this is sustained, the losses far outweigh the gains:
Destruction by overwork
A co-worker’s ongoing low productivity is an issue for any team. While you (working 60 hour weeks) may be almost as productive as a rested person for the first four hours of each workday, productivity drops dramatically after 8 hours. In fact, productivity drops so much it becomes negative. Additional work you perform leads to mistakes which take longer to fix than the additional hours worked!
This destruction applies equally to your personal finances and family life.
Let’s be realistic, you’re not going to cut down your work hours much, without drastic career changes. Overwork, though, stems from your overall workload – your kids, your job, and your life commitments such as maintaining your property and caring for elderly relatives. Routine tasks such as managing your chores or paying bills and managing finances can be the straw that breaks the camel’s back.
If you’re not making a drastic career change, the major area you can tackle overwork is in your own time.
The rules of productivity
The opposite of overwork is productive work. Follow the top 5 rules of productivity to get more done and avoid the guilt:
- Accept not every day is super-productive (and never estimate deadlines based on your super-productive days!)
- Stop working when you can tell you’re exhausted – just stop
- Reduce the pressure on yourself – for example by automating away your bill payments with Bill Butler
- Take responsibility instead of driving every working hour by an Excel spreadsheet
- Appreciate the good things about your work
Get rid of the physical and emotional symptoms of stress from overwork, and see how much more you can achieve once you are truly valuing your time, and have eliminated the repetitive tasks that leave you overtired and drained.